Nottingham

Trustee abused role in £52m pension fraud in Nottingham

A former trustee of a Nottingham pension management firm convicted over a £52m fraud "abused his position", the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said.

Graham Pitcher, 51, from Bury St Edmunds, was jailed for eight years at Southwark Crown Court in July 2011.

He was convicted in relation to funds run by GP Noble. The result could not be reported because of related cases.

The SFO said Pitcher's investments had left pension funds "completely unprotected".

The SFO said Pitcher, who was principal director of GP Noble, in 2007 and 2008, invested £52m in two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

'Severe' fraud

As well as having no guarantees of returns for the pension schemes, Pitcher received large fees, the SFO added.

The SFO was brought in by The Pensions Regulator in July 2008.

GP Noble went into liquidation soon after.

SFO case manager Jane de Lozey said: "Graham Pitcher held a position of enormous responsibility.

"He abused his position as a guardian of other people's money and his dishonest actions left pension funds completely unprotected.

"The lengthy sentence handed down by the court reflects the severity of the fraud perpetrated."

Fraudulent letters

Gary Cordell, 44, from Castle Quay Close, Nottingham, the former operations director of GP Noble Trustees Limited, who was tried alongside Pitcher, was acquitted of any criminal involvement.

The case also saw two other trials held at Southwark Crown Court.

In September 2011 Quentin Russell, 54, of Haslemere, Surrey, was convicted of fraud and forgery charges and jailed in January for 15 months.

The SFO said Russell provided fraudulent letters purporting to be independent backing for the investments.

On Thursday, Anthony Morris, 49, of Bridgwater, Somerset, whose company The Money Portal acquired GP Noble in 2006, and his associate Peter Malmstrom, 45, from Fulham, were acquitted of conspiracy to defraud.

About £35m of the money has been recovered so far, the SFO said.

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